There are numerous ways of making compost at home (we are ignoring larger scale community practices or those used by farms), concentrating on what an individual family can do. If you search on the internet, people have posted many ways – Some use clay pots, some use buckets, some use barrels, some use specialized equipment sold for making compost, some make wire meshes, some even just use simple piles on the ground; and the incredible thing about making compost – all these techniques work. Here is a simple technique that I have been using for the past many months, and it seems to be working perfectly well to make good quality compost.
You need a good clay pot (with a hole in the bottom) and a regular supply of household kitchen waste (but not using cooked leftovers, or items left over from making chicken / beef / fish items). I also use cardboard (not coated, or glazed – just simple cardboard) as the brown component of the compost pile (the kitchen waste is the green portion of the compost pile).
1. Line the bottom of the clay pot with shredded cardboard and/or dry leaves (or pea shells)
2. Start filling up the clay pot with kitchen waste (I don’t exclude anything, so vegetable / fruit peels, egg shells, pea shells, everything goes). While adding up this kitchen waste, I shred cardboard (excluding the shiny / waxes / glazed ones). Can use dry leaves equally or even better. These shredded pieces should not be more than a finger in size
3. Mix these up inside the pot.
4. Cover with a section of newspaper and cover the clay pot with something rigid so that rats / lizards don’t get inside.
5. Repeat step 2 with fresh kitchen waste upto step 4
6. Every few days, use a metal or wooden stick to shake up everything and ensure that there are no clumps inside (waste tends to form a clump if there are no gaps – shredded cardboard and degrade both help to prevent formation of clumps)
7. I have not had to add water or other stuff, since the waste releases enough liquid; if it seems to dry, up add water, and if you have buttermilk, add that.
8. If there is too much gooey or watery, add shredded paper / cardboard / dry leaves
9. If there are maggots, don’t worry, they will go away as the compost develops.
10. Keep monitoring, when you see the material having broken down into fine substance and no bad smell, you need to sieve and get the fine compost.